The publications on Presidents connection with the murder of G. Gongadze are interpreted as meddling into Presidents activities.
On 31 March an official from the prosecutors office of Kremenchug came to the editorial board of the newspaper „Informbulleten“. The official explained his visit in the following way: since the newspaper had published many materials about Gongadzes case, Tamara Prosianik, the editor-in-chief, had to be interrogated as a witness in accordance with the order of the General Prosecutors office. In particular, in the connection with the article „Million dollars for the head of Georgiy Gongadze!“ by T. Prosianik published on 5 December 2002. The material describes the press conference of Shokhin, a deputy of the General Prosecutor, at which he, among all, uttered the following version of Gongadzes death: he went, fell and broke his head. Besides, Mr. Shokhin asserted that the case of Gongadze was invented to frame the President. The article also reminded that General Prosecutor of Ukraine Sviatoslav Piskun promised the reward of 1 million USD for the aid in the disclosure of this murder. Editor of „Informbulleten“ T. Prosianik interprets the situation as an attempt to gag an independent journalist by starting a criminal case against her, although there was nothing new in the publication of 5 December.
T. Prosianik answered the question of a Kremenchug prosecutors officer, who asked, why the newspaper had mentioned about the connection between L. Kuchma and Gongadzes murder. She wrote in her explanation: „The accusation of President Kuchma of the disappearance of Gongadze and the order for his murder may be proved by the audio records of major Melnichenko, which were made public by O. Moroz on 28 November 2000 in the Supreme Rada and the integrity and authenticity of which were confirmed by the conclusion of expert Brus Kenig (USA)“.
In what follows we present the text of Errand No. 06/2-30016-03/544 of the General Prosecutors office of 20 March 2003
THE GENERAL PROSECUTORS OFFICE OF UKRAINE
13/15 Riznitska St., Kyiv, 01601
20 March 2003
To prosecutor of the Poltava oblast, the state councilor of justice of the 2nd grade
(on the basis of Article 118 of the CPC of Ukraine)
The General Prosecutors office of Ukraine investigates criminal case No. 49-1120 started by the fact of publishing in mass media, brochures and other editions the materials directed at the illegal influence on the President of Ukraine with the purpose to impede the fulfillment by him of his service duties, according to part 1 Article 334 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.
It was established that on 5 December 2002 the Kremenchug newspaper „Informatsiyny bulleten“ having the run of 4000 copies published the article „Million dollars for the head of Georgiy Gongadze!“ written by an unknown author. The article contains the following statement: „Now it is widely known that the murder was ordered, consciously or not, by President Kuchma“.
On the basis of the above-said, I ask to recommend to the subordinate officers to ascertain urgently the juridical address of the edition, its heads and founders, as well as the place of their permanent residence, the identity of the author of this article, his/her place of permanent residence and whether the author publishes articles under a pen-name.
Besides, I ask to seize one copy of the newspaper, as well as the manuscripts of the article and the documents, on which the article was based.
In the course of the fulfillment of this errand I ask to interrogate the editor-in-chief and the executive editor of the newspaper in the connection with the following questions: on the base of which documents the article was published, who was the initiator, whether the reliability of the information stated in the article was checked and who ordered the publication of the article. To interrogate the authors of the article about obtaining the materials and printing the article.
To conduct other actions, the need of which will appear during the fulfillment of this errand.
I ask you to send the obtained information to the General Prosecutors office of Ukraine.
The additional information may be got by the telephone: (8-044) 290-05-80.
Enclosure: decision on 1 page.
Head of the department of the main investigation directorate,
the General Prosecutors office of Ukraine
state councilor of justice of the 3rd grade V. Zherbitsky
17 March 2003
Head of the department in charge of the crimes in the service sphere of the main investigation directorate, General Prosecutors office of Ukraine, state councilor of justice of the 3 rdgrade V. Zherbitsky, having considered the materials of criminal case No. 49-1120,
In the course of the investigation of this case the need appeared of seizure of the documents, which were received by the editorial board and were the base for publishing on 5 December 2002 the article „Million dollars for the head of Georgiy Gongadze!“ by an unknown author in the Kremenchug newspaper „Informatsiyny bulleten“ with the run of 4000 copies.
The mentioned documents are stored in the editorial board of the newspaper.
On the basis of the above-stated, according to Articles 130 and 78 of the CPC of Ukraine
The DECISION was issued:
To conduct the seizure from the editorial board of the newspaper „Informatsiyny bulleten“ of all documents connected with the publication in this newspaper on 5 December the article by an unknown author „Million dollars for the head of Georgiy Gongadze!“ and a copy of the newspaper containing this article.
To send the copy of the decision to the General Prosecutor of Ukraine.
The head of the department in charge of the crimes in the service sphere of the main investigation directorate, General Prosecutors office of Ukraine, state councilor of justice of the 3 rdgrade.
„ PL “ commentary:If to interpret Article 344 in the same way, as it is interpreted by the General Prosecutors office, then any discussion of any acute question concerning the top state officials may be regarded as a crime. Thus, the interpretation of Article 344 by the General Prosecutors office creates a new, very dangerous, precedent, which is a direct attack at the freedom of speech. It seems that our authorities do not want to listen to the strict critics on the side of the world community about the violations of the freedom of speech in Ukraine.
Moreover, the persecutions of Tamara Prosianik, the editor of the newspaper „Informatsiyny bulleten“, evidence that the situation with the independent mass media has deteriorated so much that we have almost reached the level of the former USSR.
We hope that the Parliamentary Committee in charge of the questions of the freedom of speech and information, as well as the Committee in charge of human rights, national minorities and interethnic relations will consider this case and evaluate it properly.